The Washington Post

Plea for Blanca Ortiz in 2007 killing of Gabriel Lopez

Gabriela Lopez. (D.C. police/Courtesy photo)

Blanca Ortiz had been charged with first-degree murder in the death of her friend Gabriela Jose Lopez Hernandez. On Monday, she entered an Alford plea, admitting there was enough evidence to convict her while not admitting guilt.

Ortiz faces a minium sentence of five years and a maximum of eight years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 12.

The plea came the same day that jury selection in Ortiz’s trial was to begin before Judge Ronna L. Beck.

Prosecutors had little evidence connecting Ortiz, 47, to Lopez’s death. There is no DNA linking Ortiz to the crime; investigators have not recovered a weapon; and they have no eyewitnesses. They did, however, have a security video that shows Ortiz entering and leaving Lopez’s apartment about the time medical examiners say Lopez was killed.

Lopez, 29, was found dead in her efficiency apartment’s bathtub on Jan. 28, 2007, stabbed more than 15 times, and with the back of her head showing signs of trauma.

Keith Alexander covers crime, specifically D.C. Superior Court cases for The Washington Post. He has covered dozens of crime stories from Banita Jacks, the Washington woman charged with killing her four daughters, to the murder trial of slain federal intern Chandra Levy.
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